Sunday, March 31, 2019

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Reefer Madness: Not Reality

Devil's Harvest premium Marijuana Cigarettes are only available in The Netherworld. They get two thumbs up from the Netherworld Ambulance Crew

There are plenty of people out there clinging desperately to the opinion that marijuana is a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad plant with no redeeming value which, if legalized, will create a society of hardened criminals, that is, if they can ever pull their slacker hands out of their Doritos for long enough to go and commit a crime. The anti-marijuana crowd has no few conflicting opinions on this matter.
Being a resident of Colorado, where marijuana has been legal for several years, I sometimes forget that not all the states have been as sensible. I was reminded of this when I came across this statement:
"I would hate to see society in a few years if marijuana is legalized."
Here is my response:
Marijuana has been legal in Colorado for several years. Many people use it for medicinal purposes. Those who use it recreationally are no more a menace to society than someone who drinks alcohol. Dispensaries are very similar to liquor stores in that regard. Rather than being sold on the street, marijuana is now safely regulated and the police can move on to more important issues than busting someone for possession of marijuana.

Living in a place where marijuana has been legal for some time, I can tell you that, if anything, legalizing it has changed things for the better. For those who immediately leap to the assumption that I am a huge hop-head who is just trying to ensure that I remain able to toke up on the hour every hour, the fact is, I do not toke up. 
I do use marijuana, but I do not smoke it and I don't use it multiple times in a day. I use an edible with the lowest dose available of THC and CBD. I eat it before I'm going to bed, and it acts as a mild sedative to help me sleep better. As an added bonus, it helps bring down my optic nerve pressure, which is great given the fact that I have glaucoma.
My little edible is safer and has far fewer side effects than prescription medications such as Ambien or Lunesta. I have never sleepwalked to my car and woke to find myself crouched down peeing on the tire after taking a marijuana edible. I did do this while taking Ambien.
When I wake up after having used an edible to help me sleep, my cognition is clear. This was not the case when I tried Valium to help me sleep. Valium left me fuzzy and thick as a brick.
More importantly than me not sleepwalking and peeing on my car tires, I have seen first-hand a patient with a rare genetic disorder who once slept constantly because of all the anti-seizure medications he was on. When his mother started giving him CBD oil, he was able to wean off most of these medications and became much more alert. His mother had moved to Colorado in order to be able to give her son CBD oil legally, and it greatly improved his life.
I would protest vehemently against making marijuana illegal again, as should anyone with good, common sense. One does not have to use marijuana oneself to see the benefits of legalizing it. Colorado is a great case study and a fine example of the legalization of marijuana being a positive rather than a negative.
"Reefer Madness" may be funny to watch, but it is not even close to being true. 
I am not saying that there are never any negative consequences of marijuana use. I am only saying that marijuana is not the "demon weed" that anti-drug PSA's love to make it out to be.
Marijuana is not a "gateway drug" to harder drugs. Most people who use marijuana recreationally never go on to use harder drugs any more than people who use alcohol recreationally go on to use harder drugs. 
Yes, some people who use marijuana become addicted to it. Some people who drink alcohol become addicted to that too. 
Yes, some people who use marijuana go on to use harder drugs. Some people who use alcohol go on to use harder drugs as well.
Marijuana is also far from the "useless drug" that the anti-pot crowd wants to make it out to be. It is beneficial for a myriad of medical conditions. This article lists some of them. They include:

Asthma: acts as a natural bronchodilator
Cancer. Marijuana shrinks certain types of tumors including oat cell carcinomas. It also works to reduce nausea in patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatments, which helps them take in adequate nutrition.
Chronic pain: Reduces dependency on narcotics, which are far more dangerous and addictive than marijuana.
Glaucoma: reduces optic nerve pressure
Seizures and muscle spasms: Marijuana is a natural antispasmodic which has many fewer side effects than most prescription seizure medications

If you want a better society, legalize marijuana. Decrease crime, and increase your state's revenue. Have a happier and healthier population. Even those who don't use it at all will benefit from legalization.
Don't believe the "reefer madness" rhetoric. It has been proven false time and time again.


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Share your World 28 March 2019

Here are some questions I've answered for Share Your World. You can read them if you want. Or not, if you don't want. No skin off my nose either way.

What is the best pick me up that you know of?  To shake you out of the blues?

The Blue Garage
Photoshop Image by The Real Cie

How about the blues? The blues is a goddamn art form! That shitty way I feel when my soul starts crashing in on itself and I feel like I'm lying dead at the bottom of a scummy trench? I think that shit should be called "the gray-green death bile from hell." But that's too long to say readily.
Here is a poem which Pepper, the main female protagonist in Team Netherworld's long-running WIP, Fetch, wrote for her beloved Gerry, the Fetch referred to in the story's title. I think it's kind of a poem about having the blues for the blues. 

What would be the title of your memoir?
Dark Days: Biography of a Self-Professed Cynic

Where do you like to go when you eat out?
Somewhere cheap where the food tastes good and I'll be served quickly.

Do you believe in luck?
Gratitude Question:

Aside from necessities, what is one thing you couldn’t go a day without?
My son

I referenced my own work in this post, which for some reason makes me see the need to mention that I plan to participate in NaPoWriMo in April as I've done every year for the past several years. I'm also planning to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo. I might try to participate in the A to Z blogging challenge if it doesn't turn out to be too muckin' fuch. I haven't decided yet if my participation will be official or unofficial.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

My Body is not a "Defense" Against Men Finding Me Attractive

This is my response to a post on The Mighty regarding behaviors in people who have been sexually assaulted.
It has long been postulated that women who have been sexually assaulted gain weight as a defense so that men won't find them attractive. I used to subscribe to this disgusting notion myself. I certainly no longer do.
I prefer to sleep in a confined space such as a couch or a single bed which is up against the wall. Also, I don't like to be touched. I don't think about what happened much, but it is always there.
Also, I feel the idea that a person gains weight to make themselves "unattractive" is offensive and outmoded. Fat =/= unattractive. Fat also =/= unhealthy. There are healthy and unhealthy people of all sizes.
I have a myriad of endocrine problems and it is doubtful that I will ever be thin unless I become catastrophically ill. I get extremely tired of the odious assumptions made about people with larger bodies. 
Regardless of my body size, I have worn baggy clothes since I was in my teens because I didn't like being ogled. I was wearing loose, baggy clothes every time I was assaulted, cat-called, or groped.
My body is not a "defense" against men finding me attractive.
My body is simply my body, whatever size it may be. 

Conclusion: I really give no fucks whether anyone finds me attractive or not. I have more pressing things to be concerned with than trying to win unofficial beauty contests every second of my life. I am not looking for "love" in all the wrong places or any other place either. I am not interested in a relationship, a one-night stand, or even flirting. 
If you find me attractive, well, whatever. I'm sorry, but I have nothing to offer you even if you think I'm the most gorgeous ham-planet to ever grace your planet. If you don't find me attractive, also fine. I really don't give a shit. Move along and find someone else to bother.
Judging other people's looks is so incredibly banal. Yes, we all have knee-jerk reactions, but why is it even accepted to bleat your odious observations to the world? My reactions to people's physical appearances are either I find them physically attractive or I find them neutral. There is no-one who is ugly on the outside. Only a person's behavior can mark them as ugly in my eyes.

As for the whole BUT TEH FAT IS UNHELTHEEEEEEEEE!!!!111!!! screed, bitch, please. It's never been about health, and you fucking know it. Take your concern trolling and stick it where the sun don't shine.


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

PTSD and Delayed Reactions to Trauma

Second Parkland school shooting survivor commits suicide

We don't take PTSD seriously enough. I will go for long periods of time where I don't consciously think about the things that have happened to me, and then they will hit me all at once. My reaction is usually not to be kind to myself, it is to become furiously enraged and want to destroy myself. This may not seem logical, but PTSD isn't logical.
Telling people to toughen up, to not be weak, to be a winner, not a loser does not help. There are a lot of people walking around with wounds you can't see. It's kind of like secondary drowning. A person may appear to have been salvaged, but, in fact, there is more trauma beneath the surface.
Much of the time I am stoic and am unable to cry even if I wanted to. Sometimes I find myself bursting into tears at what would seem to be nothing.
Reactions to trauma are not logical.
People who commit suicide are not "weak," "selfish," or "cowards."
They are the wounded souls whose despair overwhelmed them.


I don't take kindly to people who express the garbage opinion that suicide victims are "weak," "selfish," or "cowards." If you insist on subscribing to that opinion, I have something for you.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Inspire Me Monday #220: If I Could Change the World

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

I have spent my life being angry with and beating up on myself for having a brain that works differently from the way "normal" people's brains work. I have been chided for being disorganized, scatterbrained, a daydreamer, distractible, on one hand unable to continue on a given train of thought for long periods of time, on the other hand, obsessive to a fault with certain issues. I have never been good at sleeping during the hours when "normal" people who work "normal" jobs sleep. 
I can be extremely productive and I can follow directions, but I hate being told what to do and I hate punching time clocks. (Unless I can punch them with my fist and break them. Then I'm okay with punching time clocks.) I much prefer soft deadlines to hard and fast ones. I'm good at filing because I enjoy words, including names. I tend to do well with online classes, not so good with classes where I have to show up in person because I have a tendency to run a few minutes late.
On one hand, in spite of being painfully shy by nature, I love to act and have very little in the way of stage fright. However, if you ask me to do anything which involves public speaking, I would prefer that a sinkhole open under me and swallow me. My voice shakes so badly that no-one can understand a word that I'm saying. Public speaking sucks for me.
I don't like doing customer service jobs because of my social anxiety, but I've often ended up pigeonholed into customer service jobs. I'm okay making small talk. My current job is "customer service lite." I see the customer for a minute or two, smile, hand them their food, and wish them a good evening. Then I get back on the road and cuss out the terrible traffic and sometimes the other drivers and the fools who insist on jaywalking across busy streets. None of them ever hear me, but it's happening.
There are plenty of remote phone answering jobs. It's hard to find WAH jobs that don't involve answering the phone. I'm hoping to finish my Bachelor's in English writing because having a degree will open up a few more possibilities for working remotely.
This world is not made for people with brains like mine, and the "advice" (translate: scolding) I have received over the years has always been the same.

YOU JUST need to change.
YOU JUST need to go to sleep at a "reasonable hour."
YOU JUST need to stop that stinkin' thinkin'.
YOU JUST need to give up on this silly writing nonsense and get a nice normal job in an office like nice normal people do.
YOU JUST need to stay awake and not fall asleep during class or meetings.
YOU JUST need to smile and pretend things are okay regardless of how you really feel. Lots of people have it harder than you do. 
YOU'RE JUST being selfish.
YOU JUST need to stop being such a crybaby.
YOU JUST need to toughen up, to exercise more, to just push through it no matter how tired you think you feel. How can you be that tired? 
YOU JUST need to stop being lazy.
YOU JUST need to be more like normal people
YOU JUST need to stop being this way.
YOU JUST need to not be you anymore.

For most of my life, my own inner dialogue has echoed what people have told me. I'm bad, I'm wrong, I'm selfish, I'm weak, I'm lazy, I'm stupid, I'm worthless. And I don't want to be me anymore.
My son has a different brain too. His differences aren't exactly the same as mine, although there are some common experiences. He is on the autism spectrum. He has ADHD, although his presents in ways that are more typical for girls than boys. He finds it impossible to learn from textbooks, although he has no problem reading. He reads classic science fiction and fantasy novels regularly. He has social anxiety with a degree of agoraphobia, and he has unipolar depression. He has never responded well to medications. 
When my son was young, I tried to push him to do things that he didn't really want to do so he wouldn't end up being a "loser" like me. Once he was in his teens, I backed off, in part because I had finally received a diagnosis of bipolar 2, which meant that I was able to deal with some of my own issues. I saw that my behavior was driving a wedge between me and the most important person in my life, so I stopped forcing him to participate in activities which he, in fact, found stressful, such as being on the youth soccer team.
In spite of now understanding my emotional ups and downs better, I never dealt with my need to always be proving to others that I was a "good person" and not a "loser." When I could work physically difficult jobs such as nursing, I was able to find work on the night shift. I hated having to work specific hours, but I much preferred nights to days. 
I still didn't sleep well, but it was easier to make myself go to a night shift job and most of the time I ended up physically sick rather than clinically depressed. I worked even when I was sick unless it was completely impossible to do so, and my employers praised me for being so diligent, even though the truth was, I was putting the people I was caring for in danger by working when I was sick.
I am no longer able to do rigorous physical work, and my wages have placed me below the poverty level ever since I lost my nursing job in 2017. I've spent a lot of time being ashamed of myself and berating myself. I never would have been as cruel to anyone else as I have been to myself. 
I have decided to stop doing this. It does nothing except for sending me on a ride to Depressionville. I am currently in a euthymic mindset, possibly boarding a rocket to Hypomania Town, which is both good and bad. It's good because I tend to get things done when I'm hypomanic. It's bad, because of the crash that inevitably follows the hypomania. I rapid cycle, which actually does not make things any easier. However, I have learned to try and be productive during the euthymic and hypomanic phases, and I am going to use this time to call county social services and inquire as to exactly why they have never given me SNAP despite my wages putting me below the poverty level. (Yes, I have applied for SNAP. I got Medicaid, but not SNAP.)
I do not want to be dependent on anyone else for my well-being or my living arrangements. I still hope that one day the work I've been doing with my blogging and other online activities will eke out at least a small income for me. 
The way our society is set up currently, we miss out on the skills and talents of a lot of people who might be very diligent workers in their own right but cannot conform to a rigid 9 to 5 type schedule and who might be very productive for a time but then end up fighting depression for a while and not be very productive. For someone like my son, his circadian rhythms are a bit whacky and so he can't commit to a set schedule because sometimes he sleeps "normal" hours, and sometimes he isn't able to fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning. 
I do not believe that drugs are the answer to issues such as this.
We live in a technologically advanced society. I believe that the 9 to 5 schedule and commuting to a job are archaic ideas in many cases. There are studies which have shown that people are much happier and healthier working a six-hour day rather than an eight to twelve hour day. 
Certainly, there are jobs which require people to be physically present, including police, fire, and medical jobs. However, there are many jobs still requiring people to show up to work at a given location which could now be done remotely. Making certain clerical jobs remote rather than on-location could drastically reduce traffic problems as well.
I know that to some my thoughts may seem like so much pie in the sky. Personally, I believe society would change for the better were we to implement these changes. People who were formerly unable to work would now be able to contribute to society. With less stress and more time for their families, people would be happier as a whole.
If I could change the world, this is what I'd do.


Sunday, March 24, 2019

Big Bad Missus Sour Mash and Cheap Wine

Image by Niek Verlaan from Pixabay

 I first started blogging in 2006, some 13 years ago, and I've seen a lot of blogs since then. I've also seen what I think is a positive change since I first started blogging, and I'd like to think that it happened in part because of people like me standing up and saying "we're not gonna take it anymore."
Back in those days, I saw a lot of posts which went a little bit something like this:
"I'm soooo happy! Life is soooo wonderful!!!1!! Every day is a gift!!1!!1!1 I just don't understand the kind of ungrateful people who are soooo negative and only see the bad things when life is soooooo goood!!1!1!1"
Admissibly, I hadn't come into my own yet, so to speak. I'd just been diagnosed with type 2 bipolar disorder a couple of years earlier, and I was still at the point where even though I was transparent about it, I felt the need to explain myself at every turn.
I initially tried to gently explain to people that some people have mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder which may not allow us to always see the world as a wonderful place. It can be hard for people with mental health issues to hold a regular job, and many of us end up living in poverty. This creates a downward spiral. So, while it's wonderful that you're happy and life is great for you, it isn't great for everyone and a little empathy would be nice.
Some people got it. There was this nice fellow who worked as a bus driver in Hawaii who said he wished everyone could have a happy life, but he liked people just as they were, including people who couldn't be happy.
Then there was this one particularly dreadful individual, who referred to herself as "little miss sweet tea and sunshine." Well, if that wasn't enough to make you puke in your corn flakes to start with, it gets worse.
She literally said all the awful things I wrote at the beginning of this blog, and, as I recall, also used odious terms like "Negative Nellie" and "Debbie Downer." Just out of curiosity, do people like this think that all depressive people are women? I mean, are there no Negative Neds or Danny Downers?
She made further untrue assertions, such as "being happy is a choice," and so all the Negative Nellies need to do is choose to be happy, and then they can be a Good Person (TM) instead of a bad old Polly Poopy-Pants.
At that point, I was done with being gentle. This chick was so full of herself and her head was so deep in her Happy Crappy screed that I pulled out all the stops and told her that people like her needed to develop some understanding and empathy for those who were not able to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and force themselves to stop that "stinkin' thinkin'," that mood disorders and poverty were real things, and that some people would do well to educate themselves rather than making odious assertions such as "happiness is a choice."
These days I tend to adopt the tactic of educating the ignorant rather than letting everyone have both barrels first and ask questions later, but I don't let people who are inflexible and intolerant hang around. Anyone who thinks I'm going to be grateful if they try to "fix" me and who continually implies that I am "lesser" because of my mental health issues will be removed from my sphere, just like any concern troll who sees the need to admonish me to "lose weight for your health."
As far as the weight loss thing, anyone who sees the need to give me that particular bit of advice can step on a scale, note their weight, and fuck off. I've just lost however much they weigh, and I feel fantastic!


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Snarky Opinion: Stop Treating Me Like a Petite Delicate Flower

Image copyright Pezibear

While it's better to be a bit too far in the direction of protecting people who may be vulnerable, sometimes I get a little tired of being "content warned" about every little tiny thing that has even the potential to be remotely triggering. 
I do experience suicide ideation. I experience suicide ideation a lot of the time. Looking at a fucking pie chart telling me how many people working for a given shitty company feel suicidal is not going to make me go jump off the nearest bridge into a poison lake infested by mutant sharks.
Look. I am an adult. An adult who happens to experience suicide ideation much more often than I'd like to, but an adult nonetheless. And as an adult, I sometimes get sick of the culture of content warnings on every little fucking thing. 
I probably need to put a content warning at the top of my blog to read a little bit something like this:
Everything on this blog has the potential to be triggering and the blog's main author is an asshole. Deal with it.
Like I said, it's probably better to be a little too careful rather than not careful enough. But sometimes I get sick of the constant content warnings about every little fucking thing that exists ever.
"This post contains references to saltine crackers. If you find saltine crackers to be the equivalent of mummified wallpaper paste sprinkled with salt, you may find this post triggering."
"This post contains fart jokes. If you have ever been in a crowded elevator where some evil so and so slipped off a one-cheek sneak so bad it singed your nose hairs, you may find fart jokes triggering."
"This recipe contains references to milk. If you are lactose intolerant, you may find references to milk triggering."
Honestly, I don't find most things particularly triggering. Graphic references to sexual assault and sadistic acts against helpless human or animal victims are triggering. Particularly hateful slurs can be triggering. Socially sanctioned diatribe against people with larger bodies can be triggering, but nobody cares about that because "I'm shaming the fatties for their own good!!111!!!" 
I'm complaining about this in my own space because it isn't really appropriate to complain about it elsewhere. I just sometimes feel like I'm being coddled when I don't need to be coddled. I have a mental illness. I'm not a petite delicate flower.


Friday, March 15, 2019

Crap that Moms With Mental Illness Don't Need to Hear

Image by Okan Caliskan from Pixabay

These are some responses of mine to a post on The Mighty about crap that mothers with mental illness end up hearing a lot.
I can't count the number of times when I heard "what are you complaining about, a lot of people have it worse than you do" and "just stop thinking like/acting like that." Gosh, what a brilliant plan! Wish I'd thought of it!
I have type 2 bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder with hoarding features. My issues weren't even correctly diagnosed until I was almost 40. My son is currently helping me clear out a storage unit that was costing more than $300 a month to maintain.
My undiagnosed mental health issues almost destroyed my relationship with my son, who is now 28. Fortunately, I was able to take steps to repair our relationship.
One that isn't on this list is the old "you just need to go to church and pray more" bit. I came from a religious family and I heard this a lot. I also heard that bipolar disorder was a sign of demon possession. This kind of crap doesn't help, not one single bit.
I had a complicated pregnancy and non-progressive labor where my cervix stuck at 3 cm but I was having contractions like someone who was fully dilated. My son and I almost died. Two months after he was born, my mother said: "well, now you'll have to work on giving him a little brother or sister." I stared at her, gobsmacked, and said: "tell you what, Ma, you have it, I'll raise it."
For once in her life, she got the message the first time and never brought the subject up again. I guess miracles really are possible.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

From Nurse to Nothing: How I Lost My Profession

Once upon a time before my own disabilities worsened to the point where I could no longer do the work, I was a home care nurse who cared for kids like Brooke.
Back when I was caring for kids with genetic disorders, I served a function which classified me as a "worthwhile" member of society, and I was proud of what I did.
I generally worked a minimum of 48 hours a week, and it was not unheard of for me to work 60-hour weeks. I was a productive member of society. I made around $40,000 per year doing this work. 
I wasn't one of the favored class of home care nurses because I have never been good at working day shifts. I don't sleep well at night, and my broken brain causes me to become severely clinically depressed when I work early shifts regularly. However, night shift workers are a necessity in the medical field, so I got plenty of work.
When I was 49 years old, a flaw in my DNA caused me to develop diabetes. I wasn't exactly surprised, considering that my endocrine system is, overall, a trash fire. My thyroid immolated itself when I was 15 years old. I had polycystic ovarian syndrome, and when I was in my thirties, I developed Cushing's syndrome. 
I have a puffy "endocrine face" and a large body type. Given my endocrine problems, it is highly unlikely that I will ever be thin unless I become critically ill as my great-grandmother did. She developed acute myelogenous leukemia, dropped from 300 pounds to 95 pounds within the space of a year, and died. But, hey, at least she cut a svelte figure in her casket, amirite?
Fuck diet culture. Fuck fat shaming and thin praising. Fuck all of that shit. I spent more than 30 years of my life trying to hate myself thin. It's all a pack of lies benefiting no-one but the multi-billion dollar diet industry. Homey don't play that shit no more. I have too many real problems to care what some petty asswipe thinks of my physical appearance.
The chickens came home to roost one night. I'd been pushing myself really hard for more than a year, working 48 to 60 hour weeks. I told myself it was what I needed to do to prove that I was a productive member of society.

Meanwhile, my diabetes was getting worse. I needed to start using insulin, but I was in denial. I had this screed embedded in my brain chiding me that to use insulin was to be a failure. This is an incredibly stupid thing to believe, either consciously or subconsciously. Needing insulin is not a personal failure, it is a failure of the pancreas. Nobody should be taught to hate themselves because they have a zombie organ taking up space in their body. Zombie organs are the result of a fault in a person's DNA, not in the person themselves.

I was extremely sick on the night that my career and my earning potential both were shot down in flames and went up in smoke. I had a severe respiratory infection. My coordinator told me that I should continue working with my main patient because I had contracted the respiratory infection from that patient and therefore couldn't infect him. He told me that the family really needed me there.
I wanted to be cooperative. I wanted to be seen as a team player. I wanted to help the family. In the past, the coordinator had told me that they were going to replace the full-time nurse on the case with me because she had lupus and tended to call in quite a bit because of it. I felt that I couldn't mention that my diabetes was getting worse. So, against my better judgment, I went to work.
I fell into a deep, dark sleep at around two in the morning. I remember nothing about falling asleep. There were no dreams. There was just darkness. I remember sitting there watching the patient, and the next minute I blinked and saw the patient's father sitting at the end of the bed glaring at me with hate in his eyes. I apologized profusely, gathered my belongings, and left quickly. I knew I would be fired for what had happened. My life as I knew it ended at that moment.
In reality, I had been asleep for about twenty minutes. I had no concept of that time passing. I had a small stroke, which I would learn also altered certain facets of my cognitive abilities as well as increasing overall muscle weakness and causing me to become fatigued even more easily than I had before.
I tried to go back to work in long-term care. When I was doing my long-term care internship in nursing school, I got high marks for my medication passes. I was organized. I quickly memorized which patient needed what medication when. I was fast and I was competent. I didn't really want to work in long-term care, but I told myself it's what I had to do.
I quickly learned that the skills that made me such a stellar med pass nurse had been wiped out by the stroke. I knew that patient X needed medication Y at Hour Z, but I couldn't make my brain understand what I was supposed to do with the information. I understood each component, but I couldn't make them work together.
I was utterly lost, and it didn't help that there was never any time to stop for a break so I could eat a little something. My blood sugar tanked. I almost left mid-shift. As soon as I got home, I emailed my resignation. I knew there was no way I would ever be able to work as a nurse again. I had failed like I always do.


Here is the last diet book you'll ever need. You're welcome.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Suicide Ideation and Life-Threatening Illness

Image by SerenaWong on Pixabay

A post on The Mighty took exception to a "Dear Abby" letter by a person who was diagnosed with cancer and feeling suicidal.

The person who writes the letter to Dear Abby states:
I am inclined to say nothing until it’s too late, but I fear this decision will cause them as much pain as if I had died by my own hand. I don’t want to be here, and I don’t think I should have to be simply because others expect it. I don’t have a close relationship with my family anyway, if that has any bearing. We speak infrequently at best. Your thoughts, please?

Dear Abby's response:

DEAR DONE: I am sorry for your despair. You say your only question is whether to tell your family about your diagnosis because of the pain it may cause them, although you are not close and communicate infrequently. If you have truly made up your mind to refuse treatment, I vote for not informing them, which could be construed as trying to put them on a guilt trip. Everyone has a right to make this highly personal decision for themselves, but I hope you will remain in touch with your doctor, which may lessen any physical or psychological suffering you experience during the course of your disease.

The trouble is, the situation is not cut and dry. As to not telling one's family that one is feeling suicidal, my relationship with most of my family is problematic at best. I'm probably not going to tell them how I'm feeling at all, let alone if I'm feeling suicidal.
Second, I experience a high degree of suicide ideation a fair amount of the time but a low level of planning. If someone tried to shoehorn me into going to the E.R. every time I had a suicidal thought, I'd have to live there. 
As someone who used to work in long-term care, I do happen to agree that a person's decision to receive or not receive treatment for a life-threatening illness is that person's alone in the long run. No-one has the right to force someone to get treatment. As someone who has multiple chronic conditions, if I were ever to end up with cancer or another life-threatening illness, I'm not sure I'd want treatment for it. I'm kind of tired of being a pin cushion as it is.
Since this person was diagnosed with cancer, I feel that the best advice that "Dear Abby" could have given was to advise them to speak to a counselor who works with patients with life-threatening illnesses.  Such a person would be a much better resource for the patient's needs than an advice columnist.
I do agree with the author of The Mighty's post that "guilt trip" is a terrible choice of words.
Myself, I don't tend to put too much stock in Dear Abby's advice.


Monday, March 11, 2019

Chazz Petrella : The Boy Who Should Have Lived - the fifth estate

Haibun: To Save Sharalima or Burn Down Manderley

I am hoping against hope that I will stick to the promise I make here, but I am nothing if not inconsistent. 
I need to make a promise to stop writing and stop it for good.
For me, writing is a fucking waste of time, and promoting my writing is a waste of money. I don't know why I keep doing something which has been a proven failure just because my writing abilities were always above my grade level when I was in school and I tested in the highest percentile on my SAT scores in English. I later tested out of my basic English courses with the CLEP test. So the fuck what? This only means that my reading comprehension and basic writing skills are somewhat higher than that of the average bear. It doesn't mean that I can write anything with popular appeal.
The thing I do which makes the most money (and the less than $10,000 I made last year doing it shows that it isn't exactly lucrative either) is delivering food. I don't mind delivering food, although I can't say it's exactly fulfilling work. However, what I should be doing is delivering more food, not wasting my time writing shit that has zero popular appeal and thus zero money-making potential.
I realized after spending thousands of dollars to publish two failed books that my writing lacks popular appeal. I told myself that henceforth I would do such writing only for myself and perhaps share it with a few fellow bloggers. If anyone liked it a little bit, fine. If no-one liked it, also fine. After all...

So, realizing that I am never going to make any money off my beloved craft, I opted to also start collaborating on Kindle smut projects, because, apparently, some people are making a living doing this. I've been doing it for almost a year, and a book gets sold here and there, but it comes nowhere close to making me a living. The only saving grace is that at least I'm not spending thousands of dollars on a POD publisher to spread smut around.
In February, I participated in a writing contest on the Write-Edit-Publish blog. I told myself I didn't care if my piece won or not. I don't write to win popularity contests. I told myself that I was writing because MY STORY DESERVES TO BE TOLD!!11!!!1!1 I told myself that I wasn't even going to read the post where the winners were announced because I knew I wouldn't be one of them. My writing is too weird, too lacking in popular appeal, too "ME." But then I went and read the fucking post anyway because WHAT IF I DID WIN THIS TIME???? WHAT IF I FINALLY FOUND ACCEPTANCE FOR WHAT I DO???? WHAT IF I HAVE GAINED A MOMENTARY FLASH OF FLEETING POPULARITY WHICH WOULD VALIDATE MY HERETOFORE WORTHLESS SHITPILE OF A LIFE????
One doesn't have to be a fucking clairvoyant to predict that no, I did not win the contest. I wasn't even an also-ran. My story's title appeared on the list of participants because it didn't break any cardinal rules. I wasn't surprised, but I was, nonetheless, very disgusted and angry with myself for participating in the first place, full well knowing that I would never be ONE OF THE WINNERS. 
Losers don't win, Cie. Get that through your thick, shit-filled head. LOSERS DO NOT WIN! And you, Dumpling, are the dictionary definition of LOSER.
There I was, doing that damn thing that I thought I'd moved beyond, hoping for acceptance and approval, hoping for a pat on the head and an Attagirl when the truth is, down inside I'm still the unwanted kid whose "friends" only play with her because their parents tell them that they have to. I'm still the kid watching her "friends" walk together up to the old gravel pit behind the faculty housing at the college where my father taught after the same "friends" had told me they were busy and couldn't play that morning. 
I'm still the same stupid kid who took the shortcut and beat my "friends" to the pit and hid in the hole until they came by and expressed surprise at finding me there. For once in my worthless shit stain of a so-called life, I had a moment of bravery. I called them out on lying to me and ditching me. They followed me back down the path, telling me that plans had changed, that their parents didn't need them to do the thing they'd told me they needed to do. I said that they didn't bother lying to me and kept walking.
They continued begging my forgiveness. They didn't want to get in trouble with their parents for being rude to me. I was so desperate that I let them convince me that we were still friends. Not sure how we could still be friends when we had never really been friends in the first place, but I convinced my sad, lonely, pathetic self that my "friends" were telling the truth. 
My "friends" forced themselves to play with me for about 20 minutes, and then one of them looked at his watch and said it was time to go inside and watch a TV program. I asked if I could come to watch too.
He said no because his parents told him that he and his sister couldn't have anyone over that day. I accepted that explanation and asked what the TV show was called.
"It's called mentally retarded," he said.
Then Jason and Marty, who was not a member of Jason's family, went into Jason's house.
No matter how hard I try not to do it, I still end up turning back into that pathetic kid who nobody wants to play with. I'm tired of having her come out. Every time I allow her to do anything, she just fucks up my life. She immersed her loser self in fictional worlds, which, I suppose, is where the whole writing thing comes from. She's stupid and a bore, and I want to kill everything that ever meant anything to her so maybe she'll finally fucking go away for good.
I was watching the Midsomer Murders program, and in one episode, a romance author named Delphi Hartley has run out of money and is being forced to sell the home she's lived in all her life. She throws the manuscript to her latest novel in the fire because, as she says, "I love my characters and my stories, but if nobody wants to read them, why should I write them?"
It has been proven to me time again that nobody wants to read my stories. I JUST NEED TO FUCKING STOP!
I really should delete my writing. All of it. Every single word that I've written in the past 30 years should be deleted. I should delete all of my blogs. Any writing done on paper prior to my moving pretty much exclusively to writing on the computer should be burnt. I should not leave a single remnant. I need to stop writing and eradicate every trace of ever having done so. I need to stop lying to myself.
I am having difficulty pulling the trigger on deleting these files because I am nothing if not a wishy-washy lameass loser.

I dreamed that an angelic being came to me. She had long blonde hair in braids and a robust body type like the Valkyries in productions of Wagner's "The Ring" where having a full body type isn't seen as a character flaw. She said that her name was Tarka and that she had come to tell me that I should save Sharalima. I knew that she was referring to the world where my stories were born, even though I have never used that name myself.
I don't know if Tarka is an actual "supernatural" being, or if she is merely brain sweat. I want to believe her, but I honestly think it is far too late for me and that Sharalima is nowhere near as precious as she makes it out to be. Frankly, I think it has no value at all. I think it is time that I torched it and all its locations and creatures the way the wrathful Mrs. Danvers torched Manderley. 
I think that it is time for Sharalima to be buried by time and dust. No-one will ever miss it.

Never a winner
Not even good enough to
Be an also-ran


I put the word "supernatural" in quotes, because even though I believe in the possibility at least of those things that some people would label "metaphysical," I do not believe in the supernatural. Everything, including any ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties that may exist, is part of the natural order.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Living Disabled: Fibromyalgia and Spiders on Drugs

Image by Baerenfein on Pixabay

I've had it suggested to me more than once that I should "just" take my clerical skills and get a nice, normal, forty-hour-a-week, nine-to-five job, and that the only reason I'm "just sitting home pretending to be a writer" is that I'm "just lazy."
I've talked about my mental health issues and many of my physical health issues. Let me talk about a certain component of my physical issues. That component is fibromyalgia.
Here is the Wikipedia entry describing fibromyalgia.
Here is my reply to that post.
I don't really mind when someone jokingly calls me crazy for not wearing more than a light jacket in cold weather. I do mind when people imply that I should "just get over" the issues I live with. Say, that's a great idea! Wish I'd thought of it!
I didn't know that fibromyalgia can cause temperature dysregulation. I've said before that I don't know if I have "true" fibromyalgia or if I simply have similar symptoms because of my endocrine problems. I've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia twice, but there are a few differences between what I experience and what a lot of fibromyalgia sufferers seem to experience. For one thing, I have never experienced extreme pain. I experience chronic low-grade widespread pain and have since I hit puberty. Also, when I do something which causes muscle fatigue, what takes a normal person a day or two to get over takes me about a week to recover from, and I feel like I've been beaten with a baseball bat the entire time.
As far as the temperature dysregulation, I overheat easily. This is why I don't wear long-sleeved shirts or turtlenecks or more than a light jacket even when it's extremely cold.
I've also always been scolded for being "spacey" and seeming disinterested when I have to sit in one place for long periods of time without doing anything, such as in class or a meeting. I had problems with falling asleep in such settings and was admonished that I needed to "just get more sleep" and that I would be fired/kicked out of school if such things happened again. Nobody bothered to try and find out if I had any sort of medical problem which might be causing my fatigue and tendency to fall asleep.
I also have trouble sleeping at night, which cuts out the possibility of doing most jobs traditionally done during daytime hours. I was always admonished to "just switch your sleep schedule around," but have never been able to do it. I literally become depressed to the point of non-functional working your traditional 40 hours a week day job. I can't work more than four days a week or I'm worthless (as far as society is concerned) within a couple of weeks. When I become depressed to that degree, it's hard to bounce back.
So, here I sit deluding myself that I have writing talent. Except I really am not telling myself that I am particularly talented. I know that I have certain abilities when it comes to working with words. I always tested higher than my grade level when it came to skills such as writing and reading comprehension. I was in the top tier with my SAT scores in English back in 1983. In other words, I may not be a genius, but I do have abilities in this area.

If my brain were a spider, it would be a spider on LSD or peyote. Just talking to me, I pass for normal. However, my thoughts do not process normally. Every story I write or collaborate on inevitably develops myriads of subplots, some of which end up branching off in entirely new directions.
I've noticed that most WAH bloggers are nice, normal people. I'm not normal. I'm a big, scary, tattooed lady with a spider-on-drugs brain and a shedful of psych issues. So, right away I'm on the outside looking in. 
I've tried all my life to do things the way the nice, normal, perfect and pretty people do them, and it's never worked. The only thing that I can do is to be true to myself and to tell my tale. Maybe I'll inspire a few people to open their minds and view society's rejects through more compassionate eyes. That would be a worthwhile accomplishment. I only wish it paid a little better.
The late David Bowie once inquired: "so where were the spiders?"
They're right here in my brain, dear David. Weaving webs.


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Insecure Writers Support Group: But What If I Hate Socializing?

I'm not "in with the in crowd." I never was, and I never will be. The older I get, the happier I am with that. I've come to see the "in crowd" as fake, dependent on keeping up appearances, superficial in the extreme. I was the opposite of popular when I was in school, which in some ways suited me just fine, but in other ways was very painful and left scars on my psyche which will be with me until I die.
Fine and good. I'm not in school anymore. I don't go out socializing and I don't particularly want to. I don't entertain and I definitely don't want to. I'd rather wash my hair with sand than go clubbing, and the idea of online dating, speed dating, or anything with the word "date" in it except for "how about trying this recipe for date bars" sounds about as enjoyable as eating soap. In other words, I've become okay with being asocial. It's even become a bit trendy to be an "introvert," which kind of makes me gag. The last thing I want to be is "trendy."
A funny thing I've noticed is that there are a lot of people who confuse "introvert" with "jerk." I was in a Facebook group for introverts for a time and I left that in the dust fairly quickly. The people there mostly seemed to want to use their "introvert" status as an excuse to act like assholes.
I may be critical and snarky when it comes to politicians and celebrities or social trends, but I am the sort who believes in punching up rather than down, and I believe in calling out attitudes, not belittling physical appearance. If Lord Dampnut and Justin Trudeau switched bodies, Lord Dampnut would still be a hateful, pea-brained, lowlife criminal. Suddenly having a conventionally attractive appearance would not make him a better person.
So, since I am far more of a badger than a social butterfly, one would think that I would be well suited to a profession such as writing. Is this the case?
The answer is both yes and no.
If asked "would you rather go to the Party of the Year (TM) and Mix and Mingle with all the Pretty People, or would you rather stay home and cocoon yourself with imaginary characters of your own design while probably drinking too much iced coffee and consuming food of questionable nutritional value but which tastes good," the latter would rise to the top every time. The only reason I enjoyed going to parties in my youth was that I knew I would end up plastered. I can't drink these days and I can't abide hangovers, so at this point asking me to go to a party is pretty much like asking me if I want to spend the night cleaning toilets. I really, really, really don't want to do either.
However, if you want to be a Successful Writer or a Successful Anything, pretty much, you are supposed to socialize, which makes things difficult for those of us who are shy, introverted, and whose tippling days have long since been buried by time and dust. There are times when I have trouble making myself reply to comments because of my social anxiety. With parties, at best I spend the entire time feeling completely out of place and hoping I can find a large plant to hide behind. A Social Butterfly I am not.
Similarly, the idea of joining a writer's group is about as appealing to me as drinking a quart of milk. Hint: I'm lactose intolerant.
So, am I now going to spring a Happy Ending on you where I forced myself to go to lots of parties and am now the Toast of the Town, my first best-seller is going to win some sort of prize, I am now super duper uber conventionally thin and attractive and look like a supermodel, and I am about to marry the Handsome Prince (TM) and live Happily Ever After?
I am going to tell you that I have no idea in hell what to do about hating to socialize while enjoying participation in a field that is very attractive to introverts but yet still being expected to be sociable so people will like me and therefore take an interest in my work. However, if you are like me in this way, you now have the knowledge that you are not alone.
Yeah...I didn't promise that it was a particularly inspiring answer. Sorry about that.


I'll admit that this is an "in" crowd that I'd like to have had the opportunity to sit in with!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Real Cie Reviews: The Wayne Dyer Material

Dr. Wayne Dyer
10 May 1940 - 29 August 2015

My dear writing sister Blooming Psycho was up early this morning, and she sent me links to videos of lectures by the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, a psychologist and motivational speaker. Dr. Dyer's works encouraged positive focus and meditation to clear the mind of negative fixations.
Although Dr. Dyer's work addresses Buddhist concepts, it is not necessary to be a Buddhist to benefit from his teachings. His later work had a more spiritual focus than his earlier books. Even if one rejects the spiritual aspects of his books, one can still benefit from the ideas of positive focus.
I'm glad that Bloomy reminded me of Dr. Dyer's work. I invite you to listen to the videos she shared with me and decide for yourself if his approach resonates with you.

Best Wishes,

Participating In:
Show-Off Tuesday
Spread the Kindness

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Sympathy for the Devils We Created: Being a Teen Idol Sucks

As fate would have it, I found this 45-ish-year-old photo not long after watching a documentary on the Partridge Family and was reminded that in AC/DC's early days, the P.R. team attempted to make Malcolm Young into a working-class answer to David Cassidy due to his similar physical appearance to the most famous teen idol of the day.

Unlike David Cassidy, Malcolm Young was not an actor or a model, and his facial expressions tended to telegraph the fact that he felt silly about the sexy poses the photographers wanted him to strike. 

Fortunately for Malcolm, Bon Scott, who had already done his time on the bubblegum scene as a member of the Valentines, was having none of the attempts to make the fledgling band into the next teen dream. 

Bon had an evident aversion to wearing shirts onstage. Malcolm's brother Angus took things one step further and started doing literal strip-teases during AC/DC's performances.

Thanks to his brother's exhibitionistic tendencies and Bon's refusal to abide bullshit, Malcolm was able to put his shirt back on and concentrate on playing the guitar rather than trying to make himself appear to be some sort of sex symbol.

Meanwhile, David Cassidy became so sick of his pop star image that he rebelled by posing nude with strategically placed potted plants in front of his manly bits. David said in one interview that it took him about twenty years to finally "come on, get happy" after the Partridge Family was over. The experience of being a teen idol was psychologically damaging for him.

I wrote a poem honoring k-pop star Kim Jong-Hyun of the band Shinee following his suicide at age 27. Jong-Hyun's sister told reporters that her brother was a sensitive personality who was unable to cope with the demands placed on him to appear and act a certain way at all times.

So, the next time you wonder why Justin Bieber started acting out, people who have been put under a microscope and are having every one of their actions analyzed tend to become defensive and lash out at their detractors. Fortunately for Justin, he seems to have aged out of being a teen idol and may be able to live the rest of his life in relative peace.
Hopefully, Justin will dodge the substance abuse which prematurely ended Bon Scott's life, will manage to avoid the severe depression which led Kim Jong-Hyun to suicide, and will never develop dementia as both David Cassidy and Malcolm Young did. I have nothing against the guy, and if he ever finds himself unable to figure out what to do with his surplus money, he can send some to me and I'll be both his bodyguard and his long-lost pal.
From my vantage point, I think we'd all be better off if the star-maker machine were to crash and burn. Celebrity worship is destructive and benefits no-one but the sleazeballs making money by exploiting both rising and falling stars and selling them as commodities to desperate people seeking a hero who can at least temporarily lift them out of their unhappy existence.